Practice Management

 View Only


Quick Links

Who we are

The Practice Management Knowledge Community (PMKC) identifies and develops information on the business of architecture for use by the profession to maintain and improve the quality of the professional and business environment.  The PMKC initiates programs, provides content and serves as a resource to other knowledge communities, and acts as experts on AIA Institute programs and policies that pertain to a wide variety of business practices and trends.


AIA Practice Management Digest - March 2020

By Alexander Chaconas posted 03-31-2020 01:59 PM


Architectural Writing

How to craft effective messages that convey their necessary contextual purposes. 

Letter from the editor

By Sara R. Boyer, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Sara Boyer headshot


I am a huge proponent of the Oxford comma, syntax, and punctuation! Google search “comma memes” and you will quickly realize why I am fanatical about grammar. I give full credit to my junior high English teachers. I also give credit to the early days of my career when I lived at the fax machine, sending out bid advertisements, memos, and meeting minutes. In that era, the early days of email and the internet, I believe that the words written with hands and ink carried more weight. Yet, we were not nearly as productive as we are today.

Despite having numerous tools for communication, there is still a lack of over-communication. Additionally, as communication lines are blurred with the proliferation of texts, e-newsletters, email, and so on, it is timely to revisit the fundamental skill of writing effectively.

We must carefully craft our outgoing messages and interpret incoming data with the same care. Understanding the potential risks embedded in manufacturer’s literature with respect to an Architect’s stand of care and Contract language is carefully explained in the article “Contract Language and Manufacturer Representations” as contributed by the steadfast resource of the AIA Trust. “Killer Cover Letters” by Robert Stempien, AIA, a reproduction from the 2010 article for SMPS, cuts to the chase outlining how to achieve the utmost first impression of a proposal. “Working With a Ghostwriter” by Zac Sprunger and Sarah Hemmersbach of Fanning Howey discusses how to tell an informative story through collaboration with another author. Mitchell Milby reminds readers that anything written can and will be used against you in “Emails and Texts.” All of these articles are valuable resources to review in this litigious society.

This is my final issue as Editor of the AIA’s Practice Management Knowledge Community Digest. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute in this endeavor.

Please consider the environment before you print.



Contract Language and Manufacturer Representations
By Frank Musica

Recently, a lot of design firms have come under fire for not living up to client expectations in terms of the performance, content, and reliability of their materials, products, and systems. In order to mitigate this, contracts should reaffirm the ability of design professionals to rely on client and manufacturer representations as long as they meet the standard of care for applying their professional judgment to the information. 

Killer Cover Letters
By Robert Stempien, AIA

Submitting a proposal for a 'must-win' project will likely begin with a cover letter. Incorporating these cover letter suggestions can promote your company as the firm that listens and the one that is focused on customer objectives. Creating a 'killer cover letter' sets the tone for understanding the project, the client, and the unique qualities of your company that differentiate you from the competition.

Working with a Ghostwriter
By Zac Sprunger and Sarah Hemmersbach

At some point in your career, you will probably work with a ghostwriter, a professional who turns your thoughts into an article, a website blog or a whitepaper. Whatever the situation, it is important to understand the end goal of the collaboration and the process to get there. Your ghostwriter isn’t just helping you get words on a page; they are collaborating with you to tell a story.

Emails and Texts
By Mitchell S. Milby

Pain is temporary, glory is forever, except that when it comes to texts, emails, internet posts, and the like, both pain and glory are forever. Once you write it, it never goes away. What does that mean for you? Think before you press send. The effects if you fail to do so can be disastrous or most excellent.


Further reading and resources

The AIA Trust


The Architect's Guide to Writing by Bill Schmalz, FAIA 

Contribute to the Digest

The future issues of the Practice Management Digest are currently planned to cover topics such as firm management, talent management, and architectural writing. If you have topics related to practice management that you’d like explored or articles you would like us to consider, please contact